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Didinger: 'What a sorry excuse for professional football'
DeMeco Ryans tackles Michael Cox during the first half of the Eagles' 15-7 loss to the Giants. (AP)
Ten random observations from another Lincoln Financial Field catastrophe for your Philadelphia Eagles (see Instant Replay):
1. Somebody needs to give me a good reason Michael Vick started this game. Somebody needs to give me a good reason Matt Barkley didn’t take at least half the reps with the first offense during the week so maybe he could be prepared when he invariably had to go into the game. Somebody needs to give me a good reason the Eagles didn’t activate G.J. Kinne from the practice squad for this game.
Practice is closed to the media these days, so we had no idea how much Vick’s hamstring was truly hurting him. But Chip Kelly and his staff have been out there every day, so how could they not have recognized that Vick wasn’t close to being healthy enough to play NFL football Sunday? They knew Vick was hurt, and they didn’t adequately prepare for it. This was a travesty.
I don’t care if Barkley threw an interception every pass Sunday. Putting Vick out there when he was too injured to compete was unconscionable. I said all week -- on Philly Sports Talk, on 94 WIP, to random people in the street -- Barkley should have started this game so the Eagles could let Vick get healthy and not go out and hurt himself some more and hurt the team. Vick without his legs is not a viable option. No quarterback is. Kelly created a situation where the Eagles simply had no chance to win. At home against a 1-6 team. Inexcusable.
2. A lot of Eagles fans are cackling on Twitter about Barkley’s turnovers, but he’s a rookie, he still hasn’t gotten a chance to practice with the first offense beyond a snap here and there, he’s been put in two impossible situations -- trailing 17-3, trailing 12-0 -- and he’s still gone out there and battled. I like the way he sees the field. I like how he’s decisive. I like his energy. I like his poise and confidence. I like the way he delivers the football. Peyton Manning threw 11 interceptions in his first four games. Troy Aikman was 8-21 in his first 29 NFL starts with 25 touchdowns and 39 interceptions. Drew Brees had more interceptions (31) than touchdowns (29) his first three seasons. They all won Super Bowls. For crying out loud, give the kid a chance to maybe start one game before you condemn him to Bobby Hoying status for life? The truth is, we just don’t know. Not yet. Come on.
3. While we’re wondering what the heck is going on here ... what was Kelly thinking not running Shady on 1st-and-goal from the 2 in a 12-point game with a rookie quarterback? You have maybe the best tailback in football and the biggest moment of the game and a QB who’s barely played. Just don’t get it. At all.
4. And an onside kick with 4:11 left? No way. The defense has been stout all day. Let them shine. Your best chance to win the game is kicking off, holding the Giants on downs, getting decent field position and trying to win the game. Hate the onside kick with 4:11 left. Hate it.
5. Kelly gets an F-minus for his coaching job, both during the week and during the game. It’s one thing when you lose your starting quarterback to an injury mid-game (see story), like with the first Giants game and the Cowboys game. But he had all week to either craft a game plan around an obviously hobbled Vick or around Barkley, and he elected to simply ... who knows? What was the game plan Sunday? Was there one? I just don’t get it.
6. Very impressed with the defense. Again. Fourth straight game they’ve hung in there and battled. I never dreamed halfway through the season the defense would be carrying this team, but that’s what’s happening. Kelly has a lot of work to do to restore order to this offense, but Billy Davis deserves a lot of credit for the progress his unit has made in a short amount of time. The Giants had the ball for nearly 38 minutes Sunday and still the Eagles’ defense didn’t allow a touchdown. Very good stuff.
7. It’s unthinkable that this franchise has lost 10 straight home games. That’s now tied for the 10th-longest home losing streak in NFL history and tied for the fourth-longest since 1990. They don’t play at home again until Nov. 17 against the Redskins, which means they will have gone nearly 14 months since their last home win. And it’s not like they’re close games. Six of the 10 have been by double digits. Embarrassing.
8. This is now three of the last four games that McCoy has been ineffective. First Giants game was 20 for 46, Dallas was 18 for 55, Sunday was 15 for 48. McCoy is hard on himself and blames himself when his production is down and no doubt an unsettled quarterback situation doesn’t help. But let’s face it, the holes just aren’t there right now. Each week, I’m growing a little more concerned with the interior of the Eagles’ offensive line. We’re used to seeing them beat people up. Lately, they’re just not.
9. One note on the defense. As tough as they’ve played, allowing just 74 points the last four games, they’re still not getting sacks. One Sunday and just seven the last five games. The Eagles desperately need a big-time pass-rushing linebacker. Among other things.
10. As a college coach, Kelly never had to play a team a second time. This is a unique aspect of NFL coaching. This was the first time he’s had to prepare for a rematch, and Tom Coughlin schooled him.